EYEAFRICA TV: London, United Kingdom: A court in Scotland has begun hearing proceedings on Tuesday over a challenge by a cross-party group of MPs who argue that the suspension of parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is illegal.
The challenge was lodged at a court of session in Edinburgh in early August and is headed by the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and the Scottish Nationalist Party MP Joanna Cherry.
Aidan O’Neill, the legal representative of the MPs who launched the challenge, told the court, according to the BBC, that Johnson was abusing his power in office without any accountability or respect to parliament.
O’Neill argued that the government was showing “breathtaking contempt” for the U.K.’s constitution and said that Johnson’s rule was becoming “increasingly autocratic” as a result of these undemocratic moves.
The government, however, has strongly opposed the legal move and has argued that its decision to suspend parliament was done so with the powers they legally and constitutionally hold.
Johnson government has argued that proroguing parliament is an act in which only the Queen and the government can decide on and that it isn’t for the courts to interfere on whether or not such an act is illegal or unconstitutional.
Senior MPs, activists and the large sections of the public, however, have labelled the prorogation of parliament a “coup” and have accused Johnson of trying to silence parliament and force a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
On Monday, Johnson warned rebel Tory MPs as well as other opposition MPs to vote against legislation that would give MPs control over parliament and thus prevent a no-deal Brexit and request an extension from the EU on the Brexit date.
The prime minister threatened Tory MPs expected to vote against the government with party deselection in a possible snap election and that voting in favor of the bill would mean handing power to opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The rebel MPs, however, have rejected Johnson’s threats, arguing that their actions are in the interest of the country, not for their own personal gain. Around 20 Tory MPs along with the opposition are expected to vote against the government in a parliament vote which is likely to be held on Tuesday.
Last week in a move that has considerably risen tensions between the executive and legislature, Johnson, with the Queen’s consent, suspended parliament for five weeks from Sept. 9, effectively denying MPs the time and chance to stop his government from taking the U.K. out of the EU without a deal.
The EU has repeatedly stated that they will not negotiate on a no-deal Brexit and that the current withdrawal agreement, agreed by former prime minister Theresa May, with the Irish backstop is the only workable deal unless Johnson finds a better alternative.